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According to US Travel Association, domestic and international travelers spent around $683.1 billion on leisure travel and $307.2 billion on business one. The major part of all the travel expenses usually goes on lodging. That’s why most travelers are concerned how to find the comfortable place to stay and not to be disappointed that your money has gone down the drain. Here are 5 steps how to find the best hotel.
How to Find the Best Hotel
- What are you looking for? First, you need to understand what matters the most: price, location or amenities in the hotel. For example, you’re a worker with a fixed income and you’re planning a long-term trip. It’s likely that your budget is limited and the price is very important to you. If the cost plays the key role, you will have to give up the idea to find a cheap hotel in the neighborhood you prefer. Because it will be difficult to match an affordable price with a right location.
- Search the booking sites. The major ones allow you to compare prices and filter by necessary features. You don’t need to spend hours and check information about the hotels on their websites. The only thing you need - to know exactly what requirements they meet.
- Price. If the price is your only concern just sort by price and see the available rates. It’s also very convenient to see all the available hotel deals and offers. Due to them you will find really cheap hotel rooms. You may also try websites where you can bid on a price. But you won’t see the name of your hotel until you book a room.
- Location. If you’re looking for a particular one - use a map view. This software helps not only to see the neighborhood, but also to search for a hotel that is close to a certain point of interest e.g. Eiffel Tower. Major hotel booking websites have a built-in map view feature, but you may also use integrated mapping software of search engines.
- Facilities. Do you need a swimming pool or a restaurant in your hotel? Search and compare all the available amenities.
- Search the net. Sometimes it’s impossible to find something special even on major hotel booking websites. Especially if you’re looking for small local inns instead of big chain hotels or, vice versa, crave for luxury.
- Local flavor. To find a charming hotel that has particular local features, read real travelers’ reviews first on travel sites Experienced travelers may even provide you with all the necessary contact information, addresses. Also you can compare all the advantages and disadvantages of the places and choose the right one for you.
- Policies. Do you want to bring a dog? Check whether the hotel is pet-friendly on the website. Also search the websites to find the hotel that accepts pets and has some pet-friendly programs. If you’re looking for eco-friendliness, search organizations that will help you to decide on the right place to stay.
- Accessibility and extra amenities. If you have special needs, it would be useful to search hotel facilities for disabled people. Check if the hotel has an automated door opening, elevator and step free entrance. Or in case you’re travelling with a newborn child, search for hotel rooms with a changing table. If you drive a car, check whether the hotel has parking area. Also, make it clear whether it is free for guests or you have to pay extra fees.
- Contact the hotel. Do not hesitate to call or write an email to the hotel directly. You need it to:
- Ask for a lower rate or a promotion. Sometimes the hotels run special packages for seniors, family or hotel members. Or have last minute hotel deals and packages.
- Specify the full cost of lodging. Some great deals may include hidden fees that are not listed on the websites or advertisements. Among them are usually: taxes, resort fees, cancellation, in-room safe, minibars, parking, wi-fi, phone and other.
- Ask extra questions. For example, about their cancellation policy or public transportation availability near the hotel.
- Seek media assistance. To find really the best accommodation, exhaust social media channels. Search for customers’ reviews and posts about the hotel.
Also, social media and review websites may help you if you’ve faced some problems during your stay in. Collect all the necessary information, when something isn’t right from the start. Note down all the details, take photos or videos to have a recorded visual proof, save receipts. Because if you want to complaint, for example, about cleanliness or malfunctioning facilities,you need to have a photo of a faulty item or a dirty bedspread. Remember the names of the staff and exact time when something was happening etc. It is necessary when you’re making a discrimination complaint or a customer service complaint. Moreover, all these data will be extremely useful in case you write a complaint letter or litigate.
Where to Find Cheap Alternatives to a Hotel
For those who want to save some money on lodging or to get to know the local people closer, there are some economical alternatives to stay in:
- Hostels. If you don’t mind sharing your room with unknown people, this option is for you. You can save up to 50% of money comparing to staying at a hotel.
- Short-term property rental. It’s much cheaper to vacation rentals and hotel rooms. You may rent a room, if you’re travelling alone or with a friend or even a house or an apartment. Renting a house or a cottage is the best deal for a travelling family or a group of friends
- Homestay or a home exchange. The cheapest way to travel is to find someone who can give you a free spare room to sleep in. Or a family who can swap homes with you while travelling.
- Religious Houses. Some religious organizations like monasteries or guesthouses can offer a low-cost place to stay. If you’re quiet and tidy enough - you may consider such an option.
- Dorms. Basic and affordable college or university rooms fit for those, who is planning to travel in summer. But be ready that you will have to share the bathroom with the whole floor.
- Farmstays. If you don’t mind staying at a rural area - this option is for you. There is usually a wide range of different inexpensive accommodation: from B&Bs to cattle farms.